ACS has called on the Chancellor to focus on the cost of business rates and banking in his Autumn Financial Statement on December 5.
The submission includes a range of recommendations including:
-On business rates, reviewing how business rate increases are calculated and introducing a cap all future increases at a maximum of 2%; postponing the decision to delay the 2015 revaluation until a full impact analysis can be undertaken and introducing new legislation to allow councils to raise revenue from retail businesses operating large out of town car parks to fund rate discounts and other investments in town centres.
-On lending, ACS has recommended a review of the impact of everyday retail banking practices, such as service charges should be conducted, to understand how these are affecting small business growth.
-On red tape, ACS has urged the Chancellor to ensure that consultations on the introduction of new regulations include proposals for which regulations could be removed, as part of the Government’s one-in one-out policy.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The Chancellor must do whatever he can to reduce the spiralling costs that are deterring retailers from investing and creating jobs. George Osborne should start by ending the link between April rates rises and the previous September’s inflation figure. This leads to rates increases that are often large and always unpredictable.
“The Government has not paid enough attention to the growing cost of retail banking. These day-to-day charges hit retailers’ bottom line and cash flow – it is time for a full review of the impact of these practices.
“We also need more action to reduce red tape. Currently retailers are facing more burdens, not less, in areas like alcohol and tobacco regulation.”